Re-Lyon on Technology

 

by Andrew Gigacz

 

I have a feeling I’m going to end up talking about Lyon today. If there’s no cricket due to Sri Lanka’s dodgy weather, it might be Ross Lyon, after the Thursday night bombshell he and Fremantle dropped. It might be Garry Lyon. Is his team close to announcing the Demons’ new coach? Or if the weather’s OK and we get a day’s play in at Colombo, it might be Nathan Lyon. Maybe he’ll have an impact with the ball on Day 1. Or if Australia bats, perhaps a rearguard action.

 

Getting someone to cover Day 1 of this Test has proven to be something of a challenge. Various potential correspondents are unavailable due to personal commitments and issues. It’s looked like coming to down to me being the person for the job. But then I think Dave Downer might be a chance, if for no reason other than taking his mind off what Ross Lyon has done to his beloved Saints. But he too passes, citing the Spring Raching Carnival and a bizarre inability to get the Pina Colada Song out of his head. So much for my “Escape” plan.

Not that I don’t want to talk and write about this match. I do. I’m looking forward to seeing if the great Australian resurgance, which began with a bang in Galle but appeared to wane just slightly in Pallekele (despite the fact that Michael Clarke’s men had the upper-hand in them draw), will be real or peter out quickly.

 

But despite what many might think, I have a real job and today I’ll be in my office in Port Melbourne when the Third Test begins. Lucky for technology. I’ve got my work PC and the Cricinfo website to keep me I the loop. And when not at my desk, I can sneak a look at the Cricinfo app so I know what’s going on. While in a morning meeting I see a tweet from Tom Moody that reads, “Weather in Colombo not looking good for day1 of the 3rd test, it has been raining most days leading into this match.”

 

The meeting ends and with the match not due to start until 2:30pm Melbourne time, there’s enough of a window for a Port Melbourne pub meal in the sun with my workmates. A parma and pot becomes a parma and three pots and I end up a little sleepy. Back in the office the interweb tells me that it’s not raining in Colombo but the humidity and recent rains have left the outfield too damp for a timely start. Enough time to leave the office again, get a strong long black and maybe get some real work done while I keep an eye on things, cricket-wise.

 

The 2:30pm toss favours Dilshan and he sends Australia in on a wicket that Jim Maxwell describes as “stickier than a finger bun”. Uzman Khawaja is the victim of Sean Marsh’s fine debut century at Kandy and the injured Harris makes way for Peter Siddle. Sri Lanka have boldly dropped Thilan Samaraweera and Shaminda Eranga will make his debut.

 

Just as the game is about to begin we learn that Marsh will retain his number 3 role, with Ponting at 4, Clarke at 5 and Hussey at 6. Interesting. But a greater shock follows. Shane Watson, taking strike, sees out a maiden over to start the match!

 

In the next over Hughes drags Lakmal’s second ball onto the stumps and departs with a duck. Enter S Marsh. Will he show the same even temperament that he did in Kandy?

 

It’s 1/22 after 8 overs and Eranga comes in to ball his maiden Test delivery. Cricinfo takes up the story: “Whoa! What a series for debutants! Eranga takes a wicket first ball now. Watson is gone. To be fair, though, it was not a very remarkable delivery. It was a loosener wide outside off, and Watson went after it like it was the last wide delivery he would get. Just couldn’t keep it down, and backward point accepted the catch with glee. Eranga will take it.”

 

Gee, you gotta love the internet and social media as an aide to padding out your Almanac piece!

 

2/22 and now it’s Ponting and Marsh, together in Test Match cricket at last! (Not that cricket lovers have been hanging out for this partnership, but it makes it sound exciting at least.) How will the new number 3 and the old number 3 go in tandem?

 

Pretty well it turns out. While work is interrupted by another drink (Joe’s last day – any excuse!), Punter and Marsh take the score past the ton before Ricky chases a wide one and gets a nick.

 

Meanwhile, parental duty calls. I’m to meet my son Spencer at his school for the Year 8 presentation night. The iPhone scoreboard keeps ticking as I drive. Clarke joins Marsh and he looks solid alongside Marsh.

 

While technology has kept me going, I learn when I meet Spencer that it’s failed him. Both of our home printers have failed and he has nothing to display. Still, we take in the work of the other students as they present their work, before sneaking home to finally see some cricket via the old-fashioned medium, the TV. I arrive just in time to hear the commentators talking about not Ross Lyon, not Garry Lyon and not even Nathan Lyon. But they are talking about a LION, explaining the meaning of the one on the Sri Lankan flag. But before I can get that full story, Clarke also chases a wide one and get a nick. Not at all a captain’s shot and the commentators lament it given that they feel this wicket will become the proverbial batting paradise.

 

With Australia in a spot of bother at 4/140, I’m in a slight quandary too. I want to watch the Hawthorn-Sydney semi-final. Technology rescues me again in the form of the TV remore control’s “back” button, which allows me to switch between the two channels of my choosing.

 

Marsh goes past 200 Test runs in only his second innings while the Hawks get a break on the Swans. Hussey holds up the other end, and these two look like they’ve been batting together for years – which they have but for Western Australia.

 

As Hawthorn start taking it to Sydney Marsh and Hussey take the score along towards 200, although Hussey appears to be struggling in the oppressive humidity.

 

But it’s Marsh who cracks first, with the score at 190, as plays Herath for spin where there is almost none and is bowled for 81.

 

With Hawthorn 40 points ahead at half-time, Haddin comes to the crease. He’s batting in the first two tests was unimpressive. But today he plays his signature slofted straight drives from the start and looks very much in command.

 

At the other end, Hussey just goes on and on. Has anyone ever won 3 consecutive Test player-of-the-match awards. (He won the award in each of the first two tests.)

 

The day ends as it inevitably would, with Hawthorn taking the semi-final, Sri Lanka taking the new ball and the umpires taking the fun out of everything by ending the day with a ‘bad light’ call. With Australia on 5/235, the honours are probably even but it feels like Australia have done well to me.

 

I like that they’ve not panicked at the fall of each wicket. The incumbent batsman has simply retaken his guard and started again. It shows composure and confidence. Granted, this is against Sri Lanka but I can’t recall such a generally even “team” temperament in the Ashes series last summer. This is borne out by the fact that Australia lost two, two and one wicket in each of the three sessions.

 

A score of close to 400 would be a reasonable result. I like Peter Siddle but I’m not sure he’ll get as much new-ball movement as Harris has. I hope he doesn’t go down the constant short-pitch barrage that he did against England. But if he bowls line and length and Copeland does likewise, the Australian attack, though steady, might not be potent enough to run through Sri Lanka’s batting card in enough time. Johnson and that other Lyon, Nathan, will have to take wickets.

An interesting day two awaits us. and it might just feature a Lyon.

 

 

About Andrew Gigacz

Well, here we are. The Bulldogs have won a flag. What do I do now?

Comments

  1. Peter Flynn says:

    N Lyon is bowling well at the minute Gigs.

    There’s runs in this SSC pitch.

  2. David Downer says:

    Would have been topped right orff in the commentary box with A.W.Greig spruiking a “Lion on the line”.

    Pina Colada almost expunged (your fault J.Butler ..my fault for you-tubeing it).

    Parma and pot Fridays not conducive to afternoon productivity. Yet more evidence the working week should cease at 1pm Friday.

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